Our Pastor and Parochial Vicar

Fr. Leon Juchniewicz

Pastor

Fr. Leon JuchniewiczFather Leon Juchniewicz was appointed Pastor of Good Shepherd Parish in July, 2011. He previously served as Pastor at St. Basil the Great Parish in Vallejo.

Prior to 1983, Fr. Leon was active in the Solidarity movement in Poland where he served as a parish priest for four years beginning in 1980.

A group of Catholic families arrived in Sacramento in 1983, leaders of the Solidarity movement in Poland, immigrants who had been given a one-way passport, trying to find their way in a new home. The Polish priest who opened his arms to them, helped them find a place to live, learn a new language and nurtured the faith traditions of their homeland, was Fr. Leon.

In recognition of his religious and patriotic work in the Polish American community in California, Fr. Leon was presented with the Cavalier’s Cross of the Order of Merit from the Republic of Poland. The award was presented to Fr. Leon by Krystyna Tokarska-Biernacik, Consul General of the Polish Consulate of Los Angeles at the Polonian Cultural and Pastoral Center in Sacramento.

The Cavalier’s Cross of the Order of Merit, which is the highest non-military Polish Medal of Honor, is granted by Lech Walesa, former President of Poland. “It was very meaningful for me because I received it from Lech Walesa who made history for us,” said Fr. Leon.

Following Mass and the presentation of the Cavalier’s Cross, Fr. Leon spoke informally to more than 200 Polish Americans who had gathered for the event. His words to them were simple. “The award is not mine. It’s ours,” Fr. Leon said. “We made it together.”

 

Fr. Lester Menor

Parochial Vicar

Fr. Lester T. Menor was appointed by Bishop Jaime Soto to serve as Parochial Vicar at Good Shepherd in March 2015. Prior to his appointment in the Diocese of Sacramento, he served as a Pastor at St. Francis of Assisi in Davila, Ilocos Norte, Philippines.

At a young age of 13, Fr. Lester first entered the St. Mary’s Minor Seminary and continued his studies at San Pablo Major Seminary in Baguio City.  He completed his theological studies at Immaculate Conception School of Theology in Vigan City.  It was only through his seminary studies that his desire to minister to God’s people became evident.  He was ordained on August 25, 1999 by Bishop Emeritus Edmundo Abaya of the Diocese of Laoag. He credits both of his parents for their deep love and devotion to the Catholic faith that inspired him to pursue his vocation to the priesthood.
 
Besides Fr. Lester’s deep love for the poor, he is also passionate about bringing the youth closer to God. While serving as a pastor at St. Francis Parish, Fr. Lester also served as the Diocesan Youth Director (DYD).  During his tenure as DYD, the Saint Pedro Calungsod Institute for the Young (SPCIY) was established in October 2012 (shortly after the canonization of St. Calungsod, the second Filipino saint), as part of the diocesan youth ministry program.  Fr. Lester served as director of the SPCIY. Its mission is to form young people to become “missionaries of the ‘New Evangelization’, emulating the life of St. Pedro Calungsod who also gave his life as a young missionary.”
 
Fr. Lester Menor was born on June 18, 1972 in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte.  He is the oldest of Leonardo and Feliza Menor’s four children.  His brother Leofel and sister Beverly, along with his parents still live in his home province.  His youngest sister, Charity, currently lives in San Jose.